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items tagged with RozzTox

Honestly Alluring: Cains & Abels, August 19 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-08-13 14:09:06

David Sampson of Cains & AbelsThe Facebook biography of the Chicago-based trio Cains & Abels is four words: “honest rock and roll.”

That might sound glib, vague, evasive, or even a dig at other bands – and it is. But a truer explanation is that singer/songwriter/bassist David Sampson means it, and to expand on the idea would simply take too long. When I asked him a general question about the genesis of “Money” – from the band’s gorgeously, patiently articulated My Life Is Easy album – he talked for more than four minutes.

He touched on how his fictional songs seemed to bring their specific sadnesses into his life, and how he decided – almost as a joke – to write happy songs to conjure a different vibe.

“One of the main troubles in my life is money,” he said. He discussed how hip-hop artists rap about what they aspire to, and “if it works out, ... they’ve made it happen by talking about it. ... So I decided at one point that I should try to write some songs about how awesome it is to be wealthy, or at least comfortable financially.”

He then deflated what had seemed a hopeful tale. “I ended up writing a song addressing money as a lover that spurned me,” he said. “It didn’t actually come out the way I intended it to.”

Even Sampson’s fantasies are weighed down by truth; he couldn’t complete a tongue-in-cheek exercise in wish fulfillment.


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A New Soundtrack for the Old West: Spindrift, May 19 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-05-09 14:07:18

SpindriftThe Los Angeles-based quintet Spindrift has developed a reputation for its cinematic sound – something that started with a score for a film that was then only an idea in the head of bandleader Kirpatrick Thomas: The Legend of God’s Gun, which later became a 2007 feature written and directed by Mike Bruce. One track for that film was used in 2008’s Hell Ride – executive-produced by Quentin Tarantino – and Thomas now has three additional film-score-composer credits with Spindrift.

But this tack for the band – playing at Rozz-Tox on May 19 – is a relatively recent development. Spindrift was formed in the early 1990s in Delaware, and was at that point an experimental psychedelic-rock band. It was only in 2001, when Thomas heard Ennio Morricone’s music for the Sergio Leone classic Once Upon a Time in the West, that his band changed course.


Read More About A New Soundtrack For The Old West: Spindrift, May 19 At Rozz-Tox...


Crayon Art, Kitchen Sink Included: Konrad, “Shadow Boxing”; Performing May 11 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-05-03 14:59:08

Jeffrey Konrad

Jeffrey Konrad’s Shadow Boxing, his second “official” release under the name Konrad, is all over a pop map written mostly in crayon, with keyboard cheese and drum machines aplenty. If the album weren’t so layered and carefully constructed, it would be an easy mistake to dismiss many songs as amateurish outsider art produced largely on a synthesizer.

The wrongheadedness of that should be evident solely from “Hang-Ups,” which foregoes electronics entirely for a poignant, country-tinged ballad that recalls Neil Young in its instrumentation and sleepy vibe. The two-line chorus is plainspoken but clear, with understated vocals that capture a character both self-aware and lost: “Getting over you has been difficult / ’Cause I’m faking it through my future.” The verses are loaded with phrases both cryptic and evocative – “Open season on the polygraph,” “Shadow-boxing with the angel of death.”


Read More About Crayon Art, Kitchen Sink Included: Konrad, “Shadow Boxing”; Performing May 11 At Rozz-Tox...


Destroy the Language: Matt Hart and the Poets of “Locuspoint: Quad Cities,” March 10 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Literature

2012-03-08 14:52:49

Matt Hart

Philosophy wouldn’t seem to lead naturally to poetry, but it can if you find the right philosopher. For Cincinnati-based poet Matt Hart – who will be reading from his work on Saturday at Rozz-Tox along with poets from the Quad Cities edition of the national journal Locuspoint – it was the 20th Century Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Hart fell in love with poetry as an undergraduate at Ball State University, but he studied philosophy. Pursing a graduate degree in the subject at Ohio University, though, “I really bought Wittgenstein hook, line, and sinker. As a result, I quit doing philosophy. One of his main ideas is that philosophy is a sort of mental illness; if you understand him, you quit doing it.”

And Wittgenstein offered an alternative to philosophy’s relentless rational argument, writing that “philosophy ought really to be written only as a form of poetry.”


Read More About Destroy The Language: Matt Hart And The Poets Of “Locuspoint: Quad Cities,” March 10 At Rozz-Tox...


Recording as Canvas: In Tall Buildings, February 15 at Rozz-Tox
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-02-12 01:53:21

Erik Hall. Photo by David Sampson.

Less than a minute into In Tall Buildings’ 2010 self-titled debut is a moment that hints at Erik Hall’s cut-and-paste method. New vocal lines burst abruptly from beneath the previous ones, as if overeagerly jumping their cue. But the music is so carefully constructed that it’s obvious this was a choice rather than a mistake, and the effect in an otherwise patient and gentle song is the understanding of a clear vision behind the music.

The album was crafted over four years, Hall said in a phone interview this week promoting his February 15 performance at Rozz-Tox. “I didn’t push it at all,” he said. “I didn’t work on it unless something came to me, unless I had an idea that I knew I wanted to apply to the music that I was already working on. So it was very gradual.”

While the album’s gestation period was long by music-industry standards, Hall’s composing and recording approaches were particularly unusual. He started out with a backbone – a chord progression or rhythmic pattern – and recorded it for the final product. “That’s it,” he said. “It’s not like a demo. ... Sometimes I have to sit and live with that for a good while before I figure out where the vocals are going to come from, what the song is going to be about, and what else sonically it needs.” He added with a laugh: “That can take anywhere from a week to a year.”


Read More About Recording As Canvas: In Tall Buildings, February 15 At Rozz-Tox...





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